LA Galaxy advance with 3-1 win over San Jose Earthquakes

November 9, 2012

Galaxy v. Earthquakes (2012) / By Tri Le

Santa Clara, Calif. – It wasn’t looking good for the Los Angeles Galaxy going into the second leg of their Western Conference Semifinal matchup against the San Jose Earthquakes. The Earthquakes, winners of the Supporters’ Shield, had already gone one game up in the home-and-home playoff series thanks to a stoppage time free kick goal by Victor Bernardez last Sunday.

Surely it didn’t escape either Landon Donovan or David Beckham that this could be their last game together in a Galaxy uniform. All the Earthquakes needed was win or a tie on their home turf in order to advance and end the super duo’s ambitions of back-to-back championships.

Beckham didn’t factor in much throughout the game. While two early free kick attempts may have sent chills down the spines of the Earthquakes faithful, they did so only in premise, but not execution.

However, with two assists in the game, it was Donovan who ensured the end of the Earthquakes' 18-game MLS unbeaten streak at home, and the end of their season.

Robbie Keane / By Tri Le

The game opened up after Donovan split the back four ‘Quakes defenders with a pass to an angling Robbie Keane, who dribbled past an off-balance Jon Busch to score in the 34th minute. It was the Republic of Ireland international’s second goal of the night.

In the 39th minute, Donovan received a pass by the right touchline, then arrowed his own low pass into the box, allowing Mike Magee to one-touch a score and put the Galaxy up 3-0.

Mike Magee / By Tri Le
In the second half, the Earthquakes pushed the ball up the pitch moving men forward, but were unable to produce a goal until late in the game.

In the 82nd minute, a goal by Alan Gordon opened a door of hope for the Earthquakes, who at 3-1 needed only one more score to push the game into extra time. The home crowd became re-energized, having grown accustomed to seeing their team pull off end-of-game heroics all season, including a 4-3 comeback win over the Galaxy in Palo Alto this past June.

Steven Lenhart / By Tri Le
Yet on this evening, there was no opportunistic strike from league scoring leader Chris Wondolowski. Nor would there be a crashing header from Steven Lenhart. Instead, there would only be missed opportunities.

In stoppage time, Opara had his chance to make up for his team’s poor defensive first half. The beneficiary of a through ball from Wondolowski left only goalie Josh Saunders to beat, but Opara missed the shot from 9 yards out, forcing the ball over the crossbar. The game concluded with the Galaxy winning the series 3-2 on aggregate.

After the game, Donovan called Keane “brilliant.” At the moment, both are indeed playing brilliantly together and have kept the chance of a LA repeat alive. For now, the Galaxy will enjoy a few days rest and then will face either Real Salt Lake or the Seattle Sounders for the chance to play in the MLS Cup on December 1st.

By Mike Chavez
Contributing Writer for The Daily Sports Herald

Photographs by Tri Le
Photography Editor for The Daily Sports Herald

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